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Antique Safes/Pre World War One York Safe


My father thought it was great when his lodge retired their old safe and gave it to him. It is a monster York Safe and Lock company double door safe with acorn nut caps which appear to be cast steel. We have the combination but unfortunately my dad passed away from brain cancer and there is no on left who really knows how to actually open the safe. The dial has a star for the starting point and the dial actually has no zero it goes from 100 to five etc. My dad did have me open the safe years back but I just thought I'd never need to know and paid little attention to the exact method. I can not find any info on which way the handles turn in or out and am finding it difficult to find anyone who know how to open this safe without destroying it. I would appreciate any ideas you may have.

Tracy, if you are positive that you have the correct numbers and in the correct order, opening the safe should not be a problem.  Otherwise you will need to hire a professional to help you get it open. And finding a professional in Virginia should not be that big a problem.  Email me directly at macslocks at gmail dot com and I will help you sort this out.  Do not post any more info on here as this is a public forum.  Doug

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Doug MacQueen


This unusual and highly innovative safe from the later 1800's is a Corliss. William, the much younger brother of George Corliss of steam engine fame, spent several years perfecting this design and it was first displayed at the 1876 Philadelphia U.S. Centennial Exhibition. I do extensive patent research helping me in the study of antique U.S. safes and safe locks. Repairs and part making for antique U.S. safes of the early to mid 1800's, both key and combination. Also the study of early round door chest designs up to and including cannonball safes of the early 1900's.


40 years in the lock and safe trade with a stint in bank service work. Openings, repairs and moving of safes of all types.

Charter member Safe and Vault Technicians Association SAVTA, National Safemans Association NSO, National Antique Safe Association NASA. No longer current.

SAVTA monthly magazine

CMS (Certified Master Safecracker- NSO) and CPS (Certified Professional Safe Technician - SAVTA)

Awards and Honors
2nd place national combination manipulation contest 1986 and now in 2016 1st place

Past/Present Clients

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